After five years of planning and six months of trying out life on the road we took the leap. On August 20th 2019 we sold our house and became official Xscapers.
The process of downsizing and preparing the house for sale while working full time was intense, both emotionally and physically. It took us over three months and involved blood sweat and tears. That isn’t a joke, there was truly buckets of sweat and some blood and tears involved. The hardest for me was my books. Thankfully a friend with a big house accepted all of them so I know they went to a good home. We reduced ourselves down to one five by ten storage unit and what we travel with. It is an odd feeling after years of accumulating stuff to suddenly reset, but overall I think we are happy about it.
With the expense of the house gone, and some cash in the bank, we began scheduling the rest of our setup. First step was to convert our 2013 Honda CRV into a tow vehicle. We purchased the Blue Ox tow system and a DEMCO Stay-N-Play braking system. We finalized our solar setup with Northern Arizona Wind and Sun and spent as much time visiting friends and family as we could while the tow system was installed.
While I don’t love Ohio, I love many people intensely. Saying goodbye, even knowing I will come back to visit frequently was tough. Everyone was so kind letting us crash in their driveways, use their showers, and taking time out of their busy schedules to visit. I grew up in an era when men don’t cry, but it was touch and go to stick to that on several occasions.
We had some warning lights on both vehicles which delayed us a week. We missed the long Labor Day weekend for travel so I took a vacation day on Friday and we began our three day trek from Ohio to Colorado. Torta still had an ABS light on, but we don’t plan on traveling in bad weather and will have it looked at in Tucson where we will get a full inspection and maintenance done. We both felt a bit of pressure to get to Joyful Journey Hot Springs. After all the hard work we deserve a week relaxing on the way to the solar install.
First night we crashed at a Cracker Barrel near Indianapolis. I really like their food and most of them will let you spend the night in their lot. A real win win. Because we were short of Indianapolis we got a very early start the next morning trying to get through ahead of the rush hour traffic. The ABS light had gone off, traffic wasn’t too bad and things were really looking like they were going our way. Yea us!
We stopped for gas when we got past the Indianapolis traffic and as we pulled back onto the highway something really weird happened. The vehicle began accelerating on it’s own, much like the cruise was on, only it wasn’t. I rapidly pressed the lever to turn cruise off and tapped the brakes repeatedly. It wasn’t like it was floored, just a steady increase in speed which I could compensate for with brakes. After about ten to fifteen seconds the ABS light came back on and the vehicle began performing normally again. While it was a bit scary, it didn’t seem dangerous so we continued on our way.
About an hour west the excrement hit the wind generation machine. The transmission dropped into first gear and refused to shift reducing our maximum speed to under 40 mph. With the max speed being 70 mph, and still in the predawn conditions, it was a very tense seven miles to the Terre Haute exit with our emergency flashers on and butt cheeks clenched.
We limped into another Cracker Barrel and began researching. Turns out Mercedes Benz has a thing built in called “limp mode”, designed to allow you to get somewhere safe but to force you into the shop. While limp mode was very effective, I’d have preferred a stronger worded message instead. I’d also have preferred to stay in Ohio an extra week and taken care of the ABS there, but hindsight you know.
Took us many hours to arrange the tow. We began working on it at 9:30 AM and Torta arrived at the dealer in Indianapolis just before they closed at 6:00 PM. We rented ourselves and the pets a lovely AirBNB near the dealer and are awaiting news on Monday while questioning our life choices.
If you followed my previous blog entries on Facebook, I mentioned that life on the road is more lively. It is a more intense way to live and when it is good it is really good, but when your entire home is being towed it is absolutely nerve wracking. I speak to a lot of people who tell me they dream of doing what we are, but it truly is not all relaxing by the fire and seeing gorgeous landscapes. I hope that my next entry is about the sunrise while soaking in hot water, but it could be another harrowing misadventure as well.
May peace find you.